A’s pursuing Hideki Matsui after pulling offer to Adrian Beltre

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle confirms various reports that the A’s have pulled their offer to Adrian Beltre and says it was “worth at least $64 million over five years.”

For the second offseason in a row the A’s made a strong push for Beltre, only to realize that he viewed them as merely a fallback option and much preferred to sign elsewhere.

In this case that meant re-signing with the Red Sox, although that no longer looks like an option for Beltre following Boston’s trade for Adrian Gonzalez.

As for who the A’s will turn to next, Slusser speculates that Hideki Matsui could be atop their list of targets. Going from Beltre to Matsui is quite a dropoff, but the A’s are looking for a veteran designated hitter after non-tendering Jack Cust last week and as usual they’re having a tough time luring top free agents to Oakland. Slusser says the A’s have also “put in a call on” Vladimir Guerrero.

The Red Sox to designate Hanley Ramirez for assignment

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The Boston Red Sox plan to activate Dustin Pedroia from the disabled list today. That’s a big deal. The move they’re making to make room for him on the roster is a big one too: they plan to designate Hanley Ramirez for assignment.

The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier first reported the impending transaction. He was told by a major league source that Ramirez was informed this morning he’ll be moved off the roster. A designation for assignment, of course, means that the Sox have seven days to either trade or release Ramirez.

Ramirez, 34, is experiencing his worst season as a major leaguer thus far, hitting .254/.313/.395 (88 OPS+) in 195 plate appearances as he split time between first base and designated hitter. Given how well Mitch Moreland has hit at first and J.D. Martinez has hit at DH, there is simply no room for Ramirez in the lineup.

Ramirez, a 14-year big league veteran, won the 2006 Rookie of the Year Award and won the NL batting title in 2009. He has been a below average hitter in three of his last four seasons, however, and long removed from his days as a middle infielder, he has little defensive value these days. That said, his fame and the possibility that he could put together a decent run if used wisely will likely get him some looks from other clubs.